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Fundraising Terminology 101

Fundraising Ideas

We have realized that there is a high turnover rate each year for fundraising organizers. The time demand can be challenging for some, especially on top of jobs, family, home, and everything else life can throw at you. So we expect to be working with a lot of new faces each year and we know that many of you are newcomers to the fundraising world and need to be brought up to speed as quickly as possible. The fundraising terminology in our industry can catch some off guard. Below are some basic fundraising terms that you may come across in your fundraising planning:

AFRDS – This is an abbreviation for the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors and Suppliers. The AFRDS is the leading trade association for the fundraising industry.

Fundraising Permission Slip – The form that groups send out to parents requiring consent for their child to participate in a fundraiser.

Direct Sale Fundraiser - A direct sale fundraiser is when groups have a product in hand that is then sold to their customers for a profit. The groups are taking on inventory of a product.  Common direct sale fundraisers are candy bars, discount cards, and customized products (clothing, hats, keys chains, etc.).  

Pre-Sale Fundraiser (Catalog Fundraiser) - A pre-sale fundraiser is when the selling is done off of a brochure. Brochures are provided for each fundraising participant. The selling is usually done for a 2 to 3 week period. Your customers will place their orders with your group. Once the selling period is complete, your group will place the order with the fundraising company.

Parent Letter – The direct communication to the parents regarding every aspect of the fundraiser. This can be in the form of a letter or email. Selling instructions, selling dates, mission statements, program details and any other crucial information the parents should know must be included in the letter.

Kick-Off - A fundraising kick-off is common with school fundraisers. This is the event that rallies the fundraising participants at the beginning of the fundraiser. Some groups hold an elaborate event for their kick-off featuring guest motivational speakers and entertainment. Some kick-offs are run by the fundraising sales reps and others are run by someone from within the group such as a principal or teacher.

Fundraising Incentives – Incentives are what fundraising groups will use to help motivate their participants to sell. The type of incentives used will vary from group to group. Some groups will use a formal prize incentive program in which students will receive prizes from a brochure if they reach a certain goal. Other groups will use other motivating factors such as pizza parties, limo rides, concert tickets and other goodies as their fundraising incentive.

Collection Envelopes – The envelopes each seller uses to collect and hold any funds collected during the fundraising sale. Each envelope should have clearly labeled; the seller’s name, contact information (including phone number and email address) and the total amount collected. The fundraising organizer will collect each seller’s envelope at the end of the sale.

Tallying – This is the process that will total up the sales of your fundraiser. This will vary depending on the type of fundraiser, as well as the processes of the fundraising company you are working with. Some schools will do their own tallying. Some companies will do the tallying as part of their services. Do the necessary research to find which tallying procedures will work best for your group.

Student Pack - Student packing is a fundraising delivery option where the products are pre-sorted and labeled for each student—so there is no sorting or labeling that the school needs to do on distribution day. Each student will have his or her own bag or box, clearly labeled with his or her name.

Distribution – This is the day your group will pass out the fundraising products to sellers. This day requires careful preparation so all of the parties involved know what is going on. There needs to be strong communication with the fundraising company, so you know exactly when the products will arrive on the premises. With the parents, so they can make whatever arrangements they will need to accept their children’s products. With school officials, so they understand what will be happening on school property. And with the volunteers so there will be ample help in the distribution process.